Ha ha, Burl returning to you good people after an absence! Sorry about that – I’d have warned you there would be one, but I simply didn’t know! These things sometimes happen in Burl-land, and although I’ve watched plenty of movies I’d like to review, the old reviewing muscles simply weren’t twitching! But I’ve just returned from the cinema show, and I figured I’d review you the picture I saw while it’s fresh in my memory! It’s the sci-fi dino-fest 65!
And I know you’re saying “But Burl, by garr! What does that title mean!” Well, it refers to the time frame in which the picture is set: 65 million years ago! It seems an alien man named Mills, played by Adam Driver, whom we recall from Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Inside Llewyn Davis and The Dead Don’t Die, is driving his spaceship past ancient Earth when he gets knocked askew by a meteorite! But there’s some backstory, economically told thank goodness: Mills, we learn, is only driving this spaceship to earn enough money for lifesaving medical treatment to cure his ailing daughter, which is a plot point only an American could come up with! Ha ha, on a sophisticated, futuristic, Trek-style planet, they’ll have universal health care, believe me!
Anyway, Mills crash lands on a planet, which, tah-dahh, is Earth in the dinosaur times, and all the colonists or whomever Mills is ferrying are killed, but there’s one survivor, a little foreign girl! Together she and Mills must trek across the jungle primeval to the other half of the crashed spaceship, where there might be a blast-off pod! Along the way they must deal with dinosaurs, gross bugs, geysers, quicksand, cave-ins, language difficulties, and more dinosaurs! And of course their visit to Earth is perfectly timed with the impending arrival of the planet-killing meteor that wiped out the thunder lizards! Ha ha!
And that’s about it for plot! The bulk of the picture is the overland trek, punctuated by dinosaur encounters and the other hazards mentioned, and it’s all done passably well, but there remains a feeling that more excitement, more suspense, even more art, could have been wrung out of this premise! Driver does a fine job, though his attempts to communicate with the girl don’t always make sense; and the mere presence of the girl, a stand-in for the daughter he misses so much, is about as un-nuanced and sophomorically convenient as storytelling gets!
Still, the whole thing moves well, looks good, and clocks in at a trim (for these days) 93 minutes, so even with its obviously huge budget, it counts as one of those appealing B-cinema theatrical experiences that I treasure so well! One does occasionally wish for the R-rated version that might have been, in which there are more survivors among the passengers and therefore more potential victims to be bloodily chewed on by lizards and bugs, but there’s an appeal to this trimmer PG-13 iteration too – ha ha, it was a family outing for us, and it never got too gruesome for my 11 year-old! (He’s got a pretty high threshold for that stuff though!)
Altogether it was more straightforward and enjoyable than, say, Jurassic World or any of those recent ones – it was more on the level of Jurassic Park III, another unpretentious 93-minute special! I can’t accuse 65 of excessive originality or style or a very good title, but the premise works and it’s a night out, barely! I give it two mouthfuls of bug goo!